Intravenous iron dextran in clinical medicine

JAMA. 1980 May 2;243(17):1726-31.


Four hundred seventy-one adult patients and ten adult prisoner volunteers received 2,099 intravenous (IV) injections of iron dextran (Imferon), usually 250 to 500 mg at less than 100 mg/min. Intravenous iron supplies enough iron to permit RBC formation greater than 50 mL/day and repletion of tissue iron. Tissue iron did not always supply iron at an optimal rate. Hemoglobin production was higher after IV than oral or intramuscular iron if the hemoglobin level was less than 9 g/dL. Three life-threatening immediate anaphylactoid and eight severe delayed reactions were observed. There were no deaths. Delayed reactions were more frequent in women and collagen-vascular diseases and less frequent in pregnancy. Because anaphylactoid reactions are serious and unpredictable, IV iron dextran should be used only when iron deficiency anemia cannot be treated adequately with oral iron.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anaphylaxis / chemically induced*
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dextrans / administration & dosage
  • Erythropoiesis / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / chemically induced
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Intravenous / adverse effects
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Iron / adverse effects
  • Iron / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk


  • Dextrans
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron